1963 Year in Review
Don Collins won his 4th Modified Championship at the Speedbowl by edging Ted Stack in the final point standings by 9 points. The championship battle went right down to the final race of the season. Collins won 4 times, including a 50 lapper and a 100 lapper, both in August. Stack also had 4 wins, including two 50 lap wins in May. George Pendergast led the division in wins with 5 and also won two 50 lappers – the last of which was the Connecticut State Modified Championship race in October. Joe McNulty and Ray Delisle won the other 50 lap extra-distance events.
Hank Stevens repeated as the Sportsman Modified champion driving the Simons Bros. #9 ‘Excavator Special’. Sportsman cars competed within the Modified division yet had their own point system in addition to Modified points. Stevens won 3 times during the 1963 season.
6-time winner Walt Dombrowski beat out 8-time Jerry Glaude by 14 points in the Bomber division to earn his first career Championship at the Speedbowl. Ed Gladue finished in 3rd place (26 pts behind) and also won 6 times. Bomber feature events were still 15 laps in distance. 3 extra-distance events were won by Gladue (25 lapper in May), Dick Caso (35 lapper in October) and Jerry Dostie (20 lapper in the season finale).
The special Sunday event on August 4th featured a 100 lap Grand American Late Model event won by Roy Haloquist. Also on the card that day was a 15 lap Bomber race won by Bob Potter – his very first win at the Speedbowl in a career that would last over 3 decades.
Joe Csiki swept the two NEMA midget events held during the year.
On June 22, 1963 a Powder Puff Derby event was held – the very first event at the Speedbowl to feature female competitors. At this time, females were not usually allowed in the pit area on race day, although exceptions were made during these events. Marion Hurley won the 10 lap exhibition, which recieved such a big response from spectators that track operators added 4 more events to the schedule.
On the same night of the original Powder Puff derby, Red Foote’s younger brother Russ Foote wrecked violently in turn 2 of the Modified feature. His car flipped end-over-end and vaulted over the outside retaining wall becoming the first car to leave the race track during competition. Foote avoided serious injury but did have some teeth knocked out. He retired from racing on the spot and never raced competitively again.